Left parties except FB to attend Obama's address to parliament

Though the senior partner CPI(M) views Obama as "different" from his predecessor George W Bush, Left activists will hit the streets across the country to protest the American policies.
CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has said they were not boycotting the address but were "definitely" going to use the occasion of his trip to reiterate their opposition to some of the policies of the US government.

However, Forward Bloc took a different stand on attending the address saying it would not be proper for their MPs to be in Parliament and listen to the US President when their supporters are protesting outside.

When President George W Bush undertook a landmark visit to India in 2006, his schedule did not include address to Parliament after the Left parties announced that they will disrupt his speech.

"I think there is a difference between Bush and Obama," Karat has said justifying the decision to attend the Parliament address.

A senior Left leader said the four parties -- CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP -- would be demanding scrapping of the Indo-US Defence Framework Agreement and extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in the Bhopal tragedy case.

The parties will highlight five issues on the protest day which include "justice for the victims of Bhopal Gas accident and to make Dow Chemicals pay for the damages and for the clean up of the factory site", he said.

"Obama being the first Afro-American President and coming after the neo-conservative Bush regime, there were expectations of positive changes but they have not materialised," the leader said.

The parties will also highlight the issue of withdrawal of the remaining 50,000 US troops in Iraq forthwith. They will also press for a political settlement in Afghanistan to establish an independent and neutral state and withdrawal of US-Nato forces immediately, they said.

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